Year of the Rooster to bring encouragement, motivation

Though Chicago remains chilly, spring is coming. Jan. 28, the first day of 2017 on the Chinese lunar calendar, previews the seasonal change. 

“The first day of Chinese New Year always symbolizes the arrival of the spring,” said Professor Li Jin, director of the Chinese Studies Program at DePaul. “I think the lunar calendar sometimes is quite accurate in terms of tracking the moon’s movements. The moon indicates when the spring will arrive and the season changes.”

Jan. 28 marked the start of the Year of the Rooster on the lunar calendar. The corresponding lunar dates on the Gregorian calendar vary from year to year, but generally the Lunar New Year arrives between late January and mid-February on the Gregorian calendar.

Senior Yulia Shupenia was in the crew that set up the rooms for DePaul’s Chinese New Year Gala on Friday night.

“I’m actually excited for this year to see what (the Gala will be) like,” Shupenia said.

(Graphics by Leah Davis / The DePaulia)

Like the Year of the Rooster, every year has an animal representation. Twelve animals form the Chinese zodiac and each animal appears every 12 years. People go through a 12-year circle to reach their zodiac year of birth. Lunar years including 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005 and 2017 fall into the loop of the Year of the Rooster. Beyoncé Knowles, Jay Z, Britney Spears, Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Hiddleston, Paris Hilton, Ariana Grande and Meghan Trainor were born in the Year of the Rooster.

“(A) rooster always symbolizes punctuality, great confidence and also good actions,” Jin said. “If people were born in the Year of the Rooster, they may have certain kind of personalities like a rooster. (. . .) It’s mainly a traditional belief.”

Some who were born in the Year of the Rooster are quite confident.

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is confident in his creative ideas. He took over as chief designer for Chanel in the 1980s and added new elements, such as sports and rock, into his clothing designs. His innovative thoughts not only kept the original style of Chanel, but helped bring the brand back to the top. Lagerfeld called himself a “living label.” Lagerfeld’s talent strengthens his confidence to adventure in fashion designs.

People born in the Year of the Rooster do not necessarily have all the characteristics of roosters. Punctuality disappears on some of them.

Socialite Paris Hilton was reported to be late for almost every publicity event when she visited Tokyo many years ago. She was an hour late for a meet and greet and she was tardy for a live radio broadcast and an in-store appearance.

Chinese astrology has a saying that the zodiac year of one’s birth is the unluckiest year for him or her in the 12-year cycle, which is a traditional belief based on predictions.

To avoid misfortune and protect themselves, people usually wear something red in their zodiac year of birth as the red color is said to scare away evil sprites.

Lijun Huang, a post-grad student from China, is embracing the zodiac year of his birth now. He has heard of the sayings about the bad luck in the 12-year cycle. Though Huang isn’t totally convinced of the tradition, he still prepared something red for the Year of the Rooster.

“I treat it like buying the good luck. After all, it isn’t troublesome,” Huang said. Chinese author Liu Xinwu provides more rational explanations than supernatural guesses on the phenomenon. He said every zodiac year of birth is related to people’s psychological development. They would face transitions in their lives, thus they might not feel everything goes well.

“It’s fun to believe,” Jin said. “But if you 100 percent believe this, then it’s unnecessary.”

Indeed, some public figures born in the Year of the Rooster did make achievements or have memorable moments in the past years of the rooster. Beyoncé Knowles embarked her solo career in 2005, her second zodiac year of birth. Jay Z won a Grammy for solo performance in the same year.

The Year of the Rooster is considered to motivate actions and encourage people to achieve their plans, as it follows the Year of the Monkey.

“As far as I know, the Year of the Monkey usually symbolizes that it is going to be an every eventful year, there would be a lot of changes in your life,” Jin said. “So in the Year of the Rooster, people say, ‘Oh, since all of the changes have happened, now let’s take actions to clean up things, to do some things.’”